Kyoto Station is the hub for transportation in Kyoto. Several different trains including JR, Kintetsu Line and Kyoto City Subway Karasuma Line are routed through the station. Additionally, there are a few big bus terminals outside. As a result many people start and end their trips from this station.
As mentioned, this station provides various transportation options. However, it is not well known that Kyoto Station itself can be a sightseeing spot. To enjoy “visiting” this station, it is important to learn the structure. The Kyoto Station has two different exits/entries, the Karasuma side and the Hachijo side. The best way to remember these is to understand that the Karasuma side has Kyoto Tower and the Hachijo side has Shinkansen.
This station consists of the JR platform building, the Kintetsu platform building (Hachijo side), a large escalator leading to the observatory (Karasuma side), a department store called Isetan (Karasuma side), two bus terminals (Karasuma (big) and Hachijo), a few currency exchange services (on the first floor and 8th floor at Karasuma side), a theater, two hotels (Kintetsu hotel and Granvia Kyoto), tourist information center (on the 2nd floor in JR building) and a big underground area filled with shops, souvenir stores and restaurants (Karasuma side).
Please check the following map. More useful and fun information can be found at Kyoto e-Guidebook.